Fresh Tomato Sauce Base

fresh plum tomato sauce

I’ve been gifted so many plum tomatoes this summer that I just finished up my third batch of fresh tomato sauce base. It’s a great way to use up a plethora of produce for future use, such as the base for a spaghetti sauce or as the tomatoes in a chili.

Wash the tomatoes thoroughly and remove the cores and any soft spots or black marks. Chunk the tomatoes up, slide them into a large saucepot, cover and cook over low heat. Once the tomatoes begin to release juices, raise the heat a bit to a gentle simmer. Stir occasionally and cook for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, set up a food mill over a large saucepan or bowl.

Ladle the tomatoes into the food mill and puree in batches, discarding the accumulated skins as needed.

Heat olive oil in the empty saucepan or stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and salt. Basil is optional. The sauce needs additional cooking time to reduce the excess water and intensify the tomato flavor. Boil gently until reduced by at least one-quarter.

Fill pint-size containers with the sauce and when slightly cooled  cover and refrigerate for immediate use or freeze for later.

Having a fresh tomato sauce base on hand not only uses up excess produce, but provides many opportunities for a wide variety of uses.


Fresh Tomato Sauce

fresh plum tomato sauce

Having a fresh tomato sauce base on hand not only uses up excess produce, but provides many opportunities for a wide variety of uses.

  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 40 mins
  • Yield: 2 1/2 quarts 1x
  • Category: Sauce


  • 5 pounds plum tomatoes, cored any bad spots removed and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups minced onion
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Basil leaves, optional


  1. Place the tomato chunks in a 7-quart Dutch oven or large covered saucepot, cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  2. Ladle the tomatoes into a food mill placed over another large pan or bowl and puree, discarding the skins.
  3. Pour the oil into the emptied pot and place over medium heat. Stir in the onions, garlic and salt, cover and sweat for 10 minutes.
  4. Pour the pureed tomatoes back into the pot and bring to a boil, lowering the heat slightly and continue cooking at a gentle boil until the sauce has reduced by one quarter, or more if it’s still watery.
  5. Cool, ladle into Mason jars and put a couple of basil leaves in each jar, optional.
  6. Cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  7. Freezes well.


Use as a red sauce for spaghetti, in chili recipes or for soup and stews.


  • Serving Size: 1 cup

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